Allison Marie Weekley


Presentation: 10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom



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In vitro human tissue models and biocompatible microfluidic devices have emerged as powerful research tools and screening platforms for pre-clinical assessments of drug candidates in the pharmaceutical industry. However, there are numerous facets of the current technology that limit its adoption and impact in the industry. The usability, manufacturability, and ability to adequately model the tissues are the challenges that the current engineered tissue models struggle to address. The need for inexpensive and accessible microfluidic devices requires new manufacturing techniques and designs. This research focused on developing a proof of concept and prototype for a transwell insert that was designed to be watertight, biocompatible to culture and view cells under microscope, have the highest optical window transparency and consist of the smallest size channels possible. The device was designed in Autodesk Inventor and 3D printed via Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). FFF was desired for the device as it is inexpensive, effective for iterative design of custom parts and allows for insertion of non-FFF during a pause. The filament used was Cyclic Olefin Copolymer (COC). COC was the optimal filament to use as it is biocompatible for cell culturing and has a good transmittance between 300-700nm for viewing under the microscope. Achieving the highest optical transparency and smallest channel size was done by optimizing FFF settings and adapting to the limitations of the FFF technology.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Russell K. Pirlo

Primary Advisor's Department

Chemical and Materials Engineering


Stander Symposium project, School of Engineering

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure; Good Health and Well-Being

Fabrication and Design of 3D Printed Transparent Tissue Chips